The Duke of Monmouth was an illegitimate son of King Charles II. On 11 June 1685 he travelled from France to Lyme (now known as Lyme Regis) in Dorset with some 80 men, with the avowed intent of overthrowing his father's successor, James II, who was a Catholic. His problem was that he had to raise an army to stand any chance of doing this and this was to prove difficult not withstanding that before he crossed the Channel he had been told the West Country was full of Protestant supporters.
In the end, he was reduced to seeking supporters in the places he chaned to go through on his journey through England. This resulted in an absolute shambles and the finsal confrontation between the King's well-trained regular army and the motley band of farmers, village lads, and other brave men who werer unskilled in martial arts of any kind but who assembled on the field of battle at Sedgemoor to face mortal combat.
It all ended very badly. Monmouth was captured and executed; everyone else either ran away and was forced to lie low for several years or was caught by the King's men and sent for trial at various Assizes held in the West Country and presided over by the notorious Judge Jeffreys whose only aim was to thoroughly frighten the other men in the West so that there would be no more rebellions to worry the King. And frighten them he did; his sentences were cruel and harsh No defence was called - the mere fact that a man had followed behind Monmouth meant he was guilty.
Plantation owners in the West Indies were allowed to bid for some of the men to be spared the death sentence and transported to Barbados, Jamaica and the Leeward islands - nearly 900 men was shipped out - most never saw their homes again. They were kept below decks for the whole of their journey and were only given the scantiest of food and water - one fifth of them died on the voyage and so emaciated were the remainder that even the slave merchant who handled their sales decided he would have to fatten them up first. In 1690, free pardons were issued but as the men were never paid anything for the work that had been exacted from them, they were unable to return home.
By putting pressure on local landowners, not only were the men who joined Monmouth vigorously suppressed, their wives and children were hounded for months, being turned out of their homes; forced to hand over their meagre possessions and made to make payments to the King out of any money they might earn themselves.
Now the parish of Luppitt was one of the unfortunate places that the Duke of Monouth passed through early in his journey. Someone who was recruiting for him went round the area making it all sound like an exciting adventure in a just cause and no fewer than 34 men from Luppitt parish fell in behind the Duke of Monmouth armed only with sticks and staves and pitchforks and hayrakes..
The names of four hundred and eighty-eight Devonshire people were returned by the constables in the man-hunt which followed. In the British Museum is a roll containing a full list of the names and places of residence of the majority of those who were suspected of implication in the rebellion. A great part of those "presented" were at large, but the fact of their being absent from their homes was deemed sufficient ground for the charge of high treason to be preferred against them, and for their names to be included in the return made out by the constables of the various parishes within the arena of the rebellion. In 1688 William of Orange landed in Brixham to lead the Glorious Revolution. James II fled to France and from that time on, England was a Protestant country.
The Presentment, produced at Exeter, was a folio volume of forty-seven pages, bound in vellum, originally purchased among a quantity of waste paper, and afterwards found its way into a library, which was put up to auction at Dorchester Town Hall in 1875
To see the names of Luppitt men who took part in the Monmouth Rebellion, go to:
To see the names of other Devon men who took part in the Rebellion, go to: